Blank Freytag's Triangle Event grid from Naked Playwriting Ch. 3
last revised 10/31/13
Even though it is frightening to think about writing with this so-called formula, I like that this chapter gives us a much more detailed vision of Freytag's Triangle (p. 75 graphic), which I'm going to call a Freytag's Triangle Grid or an Event Grid (and should this be used to map out the conflict of a play after it's written, or before?):
|EVENT||start with an event that will start the significant causal chain (en media res, if you will; p. 65)|
|a play needs opposites; the antagonist always has more power until the very end (or maybe beyond)--success must always be uncertain, otherwise you have no tension|
|INCITING INCIDENT||a scene or moment when the protagonist's position is truly unmade, upset, upended; the "point of attack" where deeper conflict appears (p. 67)|
|MAJOR DECISION||the protagonist gets active|
|MDQ--MAJOR DRAMATIC QUESTION||this is where the central themes or premises are put more in the forefront (p. 68)|
|we feel a deeper sense of possible failure; each solution leads to a darker or more complex problem; answering one question leads to many more; the stakes get higher and higher|
|DARK MOMENT||a place of failure, or a reversal of fortune; the "goal" is more unobtainable than ever (p. 70)|
|ENLIGHTENMENT||protagonist learns how to defeat the antagonist (or, in a tragedy, that it is impossible to defeat the antagonist)|
|CLIMAX||pace accelerates; protagonist is the driving force; MDQ's are answered|
|CATHARSIS||freudian release, at last! a hint of the future; MDQ's are answered|
See my grid of Six Degrees of Separation...
Of course the text is savvy in that they show us how the play 'Night Mother does not really fit this "formula" very well.
However, you know my stance--the so-called "free verse" or character-based approach discussed in the later part of the chapter (starting with a pitch, then some character sketching, then journal memories, then another pitch, leading to a series of plot points). And they rightly tell us that this approach is harder, but that eventually some of the structures above must assist the characters to have some kind of construction to stand on.